Ralph Sooter USAAF MIA Shortland Island 1943

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joad
2nd Lieutenant
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:50 am

Ralph Sooter USAAF MIA Shortland Island 1943

Post by joad » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:36 pm

Hi,
I live in the Solomon Islands and have spent quite a bit of time in the shortlands where Lieut. Ralph Sooter went MIA on June 5, 1943 in a P40 with 70 fighter squadron.
2 young boys who I know from the shortland islands say they have found an aeroplane. They said it has USAAF on the side, only one seat and is in a swamp behind koliaei village. They said no one goes in there because it is a long way in and there is no timber or anything of value.
As far as I know only one other pilot went MIA over the shortlands and that was Bill Blakeslee, is that right? If Bill Blakeslee was flying an F4U that means he was a marine or naval aviator?
The Shortlanders say the old people in the village recall a dog fight over towards buin. this aeroplane was hit and made it to the shortlands where it crashed. the pilot survived and was found by the locals walking along the beach. He sheltered with them at Goamai village for a few days before being handed over to the japanese.
I know the family and have been to the village a few times. The swamp out the back is a swine.
If it is true the aeroplane has USAAF on it then it could possibly be Raph Sooter's?
Any further info would be appreciated
regards
adam


joad
2nd Lieutenant
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:50 am

Re: Ralph Sooter USAAF MIA Shortland Island 1943

Post by joad » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:53 pm

Thanks west front

I have seen the chronology of attacks on the shortland islands on this website, although the trip when Sooter went missing is not listed. On June 5, 1943 two P-40 aircraft were to strafe anti-aircraft positions prior to a bombing attack.

I am wondering if anyone knows how many USAAF fighters - excluding any P-38 - went missing in the vicinity of the Shortland Islands. Also is Ralph Sooter the only USAAF MIA in the Shortlands?

With the close proximity of Bouganville there could be a few of them?

How many USAAF fighter crash sites have been identified in the Shortland Islands?

Thanks

Adam

jojohnso
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Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:00 pm

Re: Ralph Sooter USAAF MIA Shortland Island 1943

Post by jojohnso » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:06 pm

My mother-in-law was married to Ralph Sooter. If you confirm it was his plane please e-mail me.
jjohnson7354@att.net.
Thanks,
Jim

joad
2nd Lieutenant
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:50 am

Re: Ralph Sooter USAAF MIA Shortland Island 1943

Post by joad » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:37 pm

Ok Jim

I will be in the West over the next month. I will ask around and post on this forum if i can find out anything more.

Regards

Adam

joad
2nd Lieutenant
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:50 am

Re: Ralph Sooter USAAF MIA Shortland Island 1943

Post by joad » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:22 am

Ok some information, not withstanding the shocking HF radio reception, has come in

A parachute is being held in Koleiai village in the Shortland Islands. the local people are saying it is connected to the wreck of a single seat fighter. Detail on the parachute is as follows

Manufactured by Naval aircraft factory
Philadelphia Naval yard. Pennsylvania
US parachute number 414903
Type QAS
Final Striking Date Oct. 52

I am told the detail is printed on the material of the parachute. Maybe I heard some of the detail wrong so I am looking for an on balance opinion......

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